Unjust: Race and Money in America

Unjust: Race and Money in America

Book Launch: "15 Cents on the Dollar" by Ebony L. Haynes and Louise Story

  • The book aims to provide a comprehensive history of the black-white wealth gap in the United States.
  • The title refers to the fact that the typical black family has only 15 cents of wealth for every $1 of wealth held by the typical white family.
  • The authors conducted extensive research, including interviews, street reporting, and data analysis, to support their findings.
  • The book launch event was hosted by the Corporation Society Initiative at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business.

The Black-White Wealth Gap

  • The median wealth level for white, black, Hispanic, Asian, and mixed-race individuals is presented, with Asians being separated for the first time in 2023.
  • The wealth gap exists both in median and mean wealth levels, indicating it's not solely due to a few wealthy individuals at the top.
  • Historical data shows fluctuations in the wealth gap, with a significant drop after the Civil War and a slight increase in the early 1990s, but it has since declined to 1950s levels.

Contributing Factors to the Wealth Gap

  • Business practices, such as biased pricing models and redlining, have contributed to the racial wealth gap.
  • Redlining, the practice of denying mortgages or insurance to certain areas based on racial or ethnic makeup, has had a significant impact on the housing market and the black-white wealth gap.
  • Black Americans were disproportionately affected by redlining, preventing them from accumulating wealth through homeownership.
  • The GI Bill, a government program that provided financial assistance to veterans after World War II, was not fully accessible to black Americans due to redlining, limiting their ability to build wealth.

Solutions and Recommendations

  • Homeownership can be a path to closing the wealth gap, but the type of ownership matters (e.g., homes, businesses, stocks).
  • Community Land Trusts and reparations are potential solutions to address the black-white wealth gap.
  • The authors recommend meaningful partnerships between people from different backgrounds to work towards shared goals.
  • Businesses and governments should regularly analyze who is benefiting from new programs and products and make adjustments to ensure they reach all intended people.

Personal Stories and Initiatives

  • The book "The Color of Money" intertwines the narratives of seven black individuals to provide a human perspective on the impact of historical events on wealth inequality.
  • The authors are personally involved in initiatives to address the impact of the justice system on wealth, such as the Prison Journalism Project.

Educational Reforms and Partnerships

  • The speaker, an educator, emphasizes the emotional burden of teaching students from challenging backgrounds and the importance of investing in educators.
  • They suggest building partnerships with other people and schools to bring kids from different communities together and break down segregation.
  • The speaker encourages future business leaders to reach out to people outside their networks so that their work can benefit a wider range of people.

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